Executive dysfunction among children with reading comprehension deficits

Gianna Locascio, E. Mark Mahone, Sarah H. Eason, Laurie E. Cutting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emerging research supports the contribution of executive function (EF) to reading comprehension; however, a unique pattern has not been established for children who demonstrate comprehension difficulties despite average word recognition ability (specific reading comprehension deficit; S-RCD). To identify particular EF components on which children with S-RCD struggle, a range of EF skills was compared among 86 children, ages 10 to 14, grouped by word reading and comprehension abilities: 24 average readers, 44 with word recognition deficits (WRD), and 18 S-RCD. An exploratory principal components analysis of EF tests identified three latent factors, used in subsequent group comparisons: Planning/Spatial Working Memory, Verbal Working Memory, and Response Inhibition. The WRD group exhibited deficits (relative to controls) on Verbal Working Memory and Inhibition factors; S-RCD children performed more poorly than controls on the Planning factor. Further analyses suggested the WRD group's poor performance on EF factors was a by-product of core deficits linked to WRD (after controlling for phonological processing, this group no longer showed EF deficits). In contrast, the S-RCD group's poor performance on the planning component remained significant after controlling for phonological processing. Findings suggest reading comprehension difficulties are linked to executive dysfunction; in particular, poor strategic planning/organizing may lead to reading comprehension problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • comprehension
  • dyslexia
  • executive function
  • reading
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Health Professions(all)

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